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Los Angeles Small Business Owners Say Finding and Retaining Talent Is Challenging, but Critical for Success

Fall Bank of America Small Business Owner Report Finds Local Optimism Heading into 2014

Thursday, November 14, 2013 9:00 am EST

Dateline:

LOS ANGELES

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BAC
"By being on the ground and connecting face-to-face with small business owners in Los Angeles, we’re better equipped to address any challenge or opportunity our clients encounter"

Bank of America today released its fall 2013 Small Business Owner Report, a semi-annual study exploring the concerns, aspirations and perspectives of small business owners across the country. The survey, which includes an oversampling of small business owners in Los Angeles, found that almost three in 10 (28 percent) Los Angeles respondents plan to hire over the next 12 months. Yet close to half (46 percent) say finding qualified employees is difficult.

Of those small business owners who plan on hiring new talent in 2014, 37 percent are staffing up for an increase in business. With good talent difficult to find and small business owners looking to increase business, they are also focused on keeping valuable employees. The report found that the top actions small business owners in Los Angeles take to retain employees are offering a competitive salary (49 percent), listening to and implementing employee feedback (46 percent) and rewarding high performers with bonuses (45 percent).

Forty-two percent of Los Angeles small business owners agree that managing their staff is a source of great pride for them. But 64 percent admit to having some level of frustration with their employees. The top frustrations are lack of proactive thinking (33 percent), poor time management (25 percent) and lack of enthusiasm (23 percent).

For more information on small business owners’ talent needs, click here.

“By being on the ground and connecting face-to-face with small business owners in Los Angeles, we’re better equipped to address any challenge or opportunity our clients encounter,” said Emily Shanks, Small Business regional executive, West region for Bank of America. “The insights we gain from our survey also enable us to help navigate their biggest challenges and maximize their opportunities for 2014.

Los Angeles small business owners are optimistic about the year ahead, but continue to have concerns
Small business owners feel optimistic about the future of their businesses. Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed in Los Angeles expect their revenue to increase in the next twelve months.

In addition, the report found that 46 percent of Los Angeles small business owners believe their local economy will improve over the next 12 months, which is on par with their expectations about the national economy. Forty-seven percent of Los Angeles respondents think that the national economy will improve in the next 12 months, compared to 41 percent nationally.

For more information on small business owners’ 2014 outlook, click here.

Sixty-five percent of Los Angeles small business owners are concerned about health care costs affecting the success of their business over the next 12 months. The strength of the U.S. dollar and the effectiveness of U.S. government leaders are the second biggest economic concerns for Los Angeles small business owners, both at 64 percent. Other concerns that may affect the success of their business in the next 12 months include:

  • Consumer spending – 57 percent.
  • Interest rates – 57 percent.
  • Commodities prices (e.g., oil, gas) – 56 percent.
  • Credit availability – 55 percent.

Despite concern around health care costs, nearly half (48 percent) of Los Angeles small business owners say their hiring plans will not change in the next year due to new health care legislation. In addition, only 30 percent of Los Angeles small business owners currently provide health/wellness benefit packages, slightly above national levels (27 percent).

Holidays are “business as usual” for many small businesses
Eighty-three percent of small business owners in Los Angeles think Black Friday has little or no impact on their bottom line, and nearly the same amount (86 percent) think Cyber Monday is similarly overhyped. Nonetheless, the 2013 survey results show that Cyber Monday may be growing in importance for Los Angeles-area small businesses when compared to the results of the fall 2012 report. When asked the same question last year, 74 percent of respondents said Cyber Monday is overhyped.

Maintaining a work-life balance during the last months of the year does not appear to be an issue for many Los Angeles small business owners as only 35 percent report working longer hours during the holidays.

Los Angeles small business owners are generous when thanking their employees during the holidays. The most popular perks planned for this holiday season are:

  • Hosting a holiday party – 46 percent.
  • Giving gifts – 46 percent.
  • Awarding salary bonuses – 45 percent.
  • Offering flexible working hours during the holidays – 37 percent.
  • Closing the office during the holidays – 33 percent.

Only 8 percent do not intend to offer holiday-related perks this year.

For more information on small business owners’ holiday outlook, click here.

Bank of America has continued to lend actively to small businesses across the U.S. and California. Through September of this year, Bank of America has extended more than $1.8 billion in new credit across California to small businesses – an increase of 39 percent over the same period last year. This has helped enable Bank of America to exceed its national small business lending pledge to the White House and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

For an in-depth look at the attributes of the nation’s small business owners, read the entire fall 2013 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report. An infographic with highlights of the report can be found here.

About the Bank of America Small Business Owner Report
Braun Research conducted the Bank of America Small Business Owner Report survey by phone between September 12 and October 3, 2013, on behalf of Bank of America. Braun contacted a nationally representative sample of 1,000 small business owners in the United States with annual revenue between $100,000 and $4,999,999 and employing between 2 and 99 employees. In addition, 300 small business owners were also surveyed in nine target markets: Los Angeles, Dallas, Washington, D.C., New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta and Miami. The margin of error for the national sample is +/- 3.1 percent and the margin of error for the oversampled markets is +/- 5.7 percent, with both reported at a 95 percent confidence level.

The Braun Research survey results conducted on behalf of Bank of America and interpretations in this release are not intended, nor implied, to be a substitute for the professional advice received from a qualified accountant, attorney or financial advisor. Always seek the advice of an accountant, attorney or financial advisor with any questions you may have regarding the decisions you undertake as a result of reviewing the information contained herein. Nothing in this report should be construed as either advice or legal opinion.

Bank of America
Bank of America is one of the world's largest financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small- and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. We serve approximately 51 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 5,200 retail banking offices and approximately 16,200 ATMs and award-winning online banking with 30 million active users and more than 14 million mobile users. Bank of America is among the world's leading wealth management companies and is a global leader in corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations in more than 40 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

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